Sunday, October 07, 2007

Geek Speak(updated)

Let's talk about the state of Science Fiction television, shall we? There's a brand new bionic woman out there. It premiered last week, and my wife and I eagerly awaited the debut. We even watched it in real time, rather than let the DVR record it so we could zip through the commercials. If The X-Files and Battlestar Galactica had a secret love child, it would be The Bionic Woman. The new Jaime Sommers is a bartender who lives with her resentment-filled teenage sister, and is filled with insecurities and misery. Her boyfriend is a doctor who is pioneering bionics for a shadowy government agency. After the inevitable, nowadays, sibling bickering and romantic proposal Jaime is nearly killed in a car wreck, and the boyfriend 'fixes' her, without his bosses' approval, or even knowledge. Jaime wakes up, and thanks to neural implants is able to instantly use her new hardware(although they seem to be able to do extensive brain surgery without disturbing a single hair on her head) and she immediately meets her arch enemy...bionic woman mark 1.(Galactica's Katee Sackhoff) They fight, neither wins, and we leave our formerly wilting flower bartender all pissed off and filled with warrior badness.

What did I think? Meh. We have the second episode on the DVR, and I haven't had the motivation to watch it. I guess I'm already tired of the 'let's modernize something from 20 years ago' path Hollywood is taking. I loved The Six Million Dollar Man, and I remember watching The Bionic Woman, but I can't remember how I felt about it. As soon as the first episode began, and the two sisters began fighting, I thought "Ah, shit." The grunginess and angst of Galactica works for that show because it makes sense. Humanity on the run from a genocidal enemy that nearly destroyed the entire species is certainly fertile ground for everyone to be miserable. And it didn't start that way. We saw most of the cast being normal, well adjusted people before the Cylon attack. Bionic Woman went emo right out of the gate. It seems that disaffected, dysfunctional, angry women are the demo that the producers are aiming for, but I guess I don't fit that bill. I'll probably watch the second episode tonight, but I find I really don't care either way.

Another new show that has left me kind of cold is Torchwood. It's a spin-off of Doctor Who shown Saturday nights on BBC America. I love the new Doctor Who, but Torchwood has taken one of my least favorite characters from the series and made him the lead of Torchwood. John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack Harkness, seems to benefit from being an American in England the same way some Brits get a pass over here. He's pretty, with a clear voice and sparkling eyes, but is a TERRIBLE actor. I am not the harshest critic of acting, but this guy is awful! Everyone else in the show is fine...well except the weepy suit-wearing guy...and the lead reminds me of a young English girl I dated once upon a time(hi Squee, if you are reading this)and the premise is groovy enough. Torchwood is a secret organization that monitors and mitigates alien activity on Earth. I like the characters, and the plots are ok, but I just can't stand Barrowman.

On to the good stuff. Stargate: Atlantis premiered last week. We love this show, and it has yet to disappoint. Amanda Tapping(Col. Samantha Carter of Stargate SG-1) has joined the cast, although her character has yet to officially join the crew of Atlantis. Mrs. Marius and I figured that if any of the SG-1 team would make the move to Atlantis it would be Daniel Jackson, but I guess Michael Shanks, who plays Daniel, had other things to do. But so far Carter's presence in the show has been explained quite plausibly. Right now the only thing I'm worried about is Tori Higginson, who plays Dr. Elizabeth Weir, has just had her character nearly killed, and is now a prisoner of some of the big bad guys. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but Atlantis has a history of not being squeamish about taking out someone whose picture appears during the opening credits. It's actually kinda fun to know that we can't be certain that a major character in grave peril will make it. It keeps things fresh.

And that's the Marius take on the tube right now. Oh, I almost forgot. On November 13th Paramount is releasing the re-mastered original Star Trek episode The Menagerie in High Definition to select movie theaters around the country. I checked the list, expecting to see that the nearest one to me would be Orlando, and lo and behold it's playing about 5 miles away. I am so there!

Ok, that's really it. Peace out, y'all.


Captain's Log: Supplemental

We just watched the second episode of Bionic Woman. It was better. While it is still very serious, especially compared with the original, they lightened it up a lot. The characters actually smile, and the shadowy governmental agency that built her is becoming more 'the good guys'. I don't know. The jury's still out, but I'm now willing to give it more of a chance.

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Micheal Shanks (Daniel Jackson) isn't on Atlantis because he wasn't asked. Sam is because Amanda Tapping had another year on her contract, so this is how they are fullfulling their obligation.

BTW-I also love the new Dr. Who but I really adore John Barrowman, like him much better on Who then on Torchwood. But the series is a bit too much like a soap for me.

Rosebuckle said...

OK, first I barely remember the original Bionic woman (that & the 6 Million Dollar Man didn't seem to leave much of an impression on me, though I did watch them). I liked the new Bionic Woman. Perhaps it takes the depth of a woman to understand (ohh, was that a burn?!)
I also enjoy John Barrowman on Dr. Who (& I don't think he's a bad actor!). I can't speak about Torchwood as I can only afford lowly basic cable. But back to The Doctor I thought the last episode(2 part)most excellent! The power of thought is totally under rated.
I alos am not sure you are qualified at this time to speak of the State of Sci-fi TV at this time. As per our conversation earlier this summer, you are not watching most of what is out ther right now. I understand you prefer playing "group" games on line instead.
Now if you want to talk about a re-hash that really sucks, Flash Gordon (ah, ah). They've tried to take it out of the realm of camp. I certainly won't waste any more time on it.
So perhaps yoou should check out Hero's, Lost, (this season) Journeyman, Chuck, Reaper (lots of fun), Pushing Daisies & Moonlight (surprisingly entertaining).
As for Stargate Atlantis, I will be really pissed if Weir gets dumped for Samantha Carter. I love Sam, but not at the sacrifice of Weir who brings a grounding tone to the show. I'm hoping this will be more of a Picard/Borg type scenario.

Marius said...

Ok, just for clarity I haven't been able to play City of Heroes for over a month now due to hardware issues. As for Flash Gordon, my wife has been watching it, and I have been enduring second-hand emissions from that steaming pile of drek. I had the misfortune to see most of the Hawkmen episode, and my eyes are still burning. I have seen some of Heroes and Lost, but they don't really interest me, and I must beg to differ on Moonlight. We watched the first episode, and it was almost unwatchable, in my opinion. However, dearest Rosebuckle, that is not a slight on your enjoyment of it. I have very high standards where vampire stories are concerned. Buffy and Angel just barely passed. ;-)(although were I to pick a favorite vampire, second only to my namesake from Ms. Rice's ouvre, Spike would take the prize.)

Pushing Daisies I haven't really given much thought, and Reaper intrigues, but I keep forgetting about it.

Oh, and as for Barrowman, he was a tertiary character on Doctor Who, but as the lead of a show I just can't stand him.

Stinkypaw said...

I didn't really enjoyed the 1st episode, but Hubby watched the second and he's still uncertain...